OK, this is just between us. I'm telling you this because you're cool, and I know I can trust you.
Tonight in the Blue Room at the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty there is a private gathering for the premiere of the video "My Love," a reggae song recorded by national artist Bugle, featuring emerging artist Oriel.
Here's the straight dope from the press release:
"This event is invitation-only and will be attended by press, music executives, producers, bloggers and promoters from all around the country. Guests will be the first to watch the video and get a first listen [to] unreleased music from Lamar Clan recording artists. The Video Launch and Listening party is a great opportunity to not only hear new music but to also discuss them with the artists in a Q&A session.
"Each guest will receive a CD with the single "My Love" and other exclusive tracks from various Lamar Clan recording artists. Complimentary food will also be provided by The Royal Caribbean Restaurant."
Dan, you devil! you are thinking. Why would you tell us about a great party that we aren't invited to? Why do you tease and torment us?
No woman, no cry. I'm here to stir it up.
Because, according to Duey Saxton, co-founder of Lamar Clan Productions, the REAL party follows the meet-and-greet.
"From 9 to 11, the event is geared to introduce Lamar Clan to Pittsburgh," said Mr. Saxton, a Penn Hills entrepreneur and artist who performs under the name Fudgie Springer. "We want to get the word out.
"A lot of people don't realize that we're making some really good music right here in Pittsburgh. Reggae followers hear the music on the radio and they think it was made in Jamaica, but it was made right here in Pittsburgh. We want to expose that to everybody.
"But that's the professional event. After that, it's a party, and anything goes."
Located at 5972 Baum Blvd., Ava is part of the Shadow Lounge, and Thursdays are reggae nights. So -- wink, wink -- all you have to do is show up around midnight and they be jammin'.
Mr. Saxton was born in Jamaica but came to Pittsburgh in 1996.
"My family owned a restaurant in East Liberty and, you know, living in Jamaica, it's a third-world country, it's kind of hard down there," he said, "so my family sent me up here to find a better life, I guess."
For a while, he worked in Jamaican restaurants here in town, plugging into the city's "small but healthy" West Indian culture.
"The Caribbean population is not that great, but we stick together and support each other the best," he said. "We have websites like pittsburghreggae.net that lists all the reggae events around here. We usually find some venue that we can go to at 4 o'clock and we party all night."
For those of you who don't know what a dreadlock is, that's 4 in the morning.
"Our parties are just getting started at 2 o'clock," Mr. Saxton laughed.
Mr. Saxton will be serving as host for tonight's "professional event" -- which you aren't invited to -- from 9 to 11 p.m. But remember, the Shadow Lounge is a public place. ("We probably won't be turning people away," Mr. Saxton said.)
Wadria Taylor, a former employee at the Shadow Lounge "back in the day," is the voice of business for this evening. According to her, Bugle is on a national tour and will not be able to attend. But Oriel will be there.
The song was partially recorded, mixed and mastered here in Pittsburgh.
"It's been out for a while, but tonight marks the premier of the video, which was shot in Miami," Ms. Taylor said.
Oriel Barry was born in Dominica and moved to Penn Hills several years ago. He met Mr. Saxton and the two started hitting the clubs and working together as DJs. It wasn't long before they decided to reach for the next level.
"You'd be surprised," Mr. Saxton said. "There isn't a strong West Indian population here, but there definitely is a love for reggae. It isn't what you'd find in comparison with New York or DC or Chicago, but there is that strong underground culture.
"We're trying to build that audience and get the word out through social media and events. Reggae is definitely feel-good music. It transcends to a broader audience. We're a global music."
Get a preview of tonight's event!
"My Love" -- Bugle featuring Oriel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW-AUv46buU
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456.
This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To subscribe, go to http://press.post-gazette.com/ First Published May 17, 2012 3:45 PM